April 8, 2011

Art as a voice and a place

I love the art of AI Weiwei.
This piece, "Forever" Bicycles, 2003 seems to me to celebrate the hundreds of bicycles that everyone uses (though less now) in China and all over the parts of the world where gas prices are beyond most people.  I loved Ai WeiWei's work before I moved to China; before he became the 'next' dissident to capture the short Western Attention span, and before he was arrested.  WeiWei's concern for the materialization of Chinese Culture is thoughtful and does not blame so much as seek to understand and to incite CARE.

Han Dynasty Urn with Coca-Cola Logo, 1994
see also Philips ART expert from a show last Spring

  While I fear for his safety - I know he does not.  His fear is for the people - what will happen when consumerism and love of money are no longer enough to dull emotional pain of dislocation, disempowerment and de-culturalization.  This is also my fear for China, and for the United States, and for all countries.

My art changed in China.  I should say first, my art changes when I change location - I pick up new palettes, objects, fabric that are particular to the place.  For example, when I moved to Florida, I began to use green:

Buffy's Forest, 2005 - using the palette of Central Florida scrubland

Buffy's Forest, detail

Buffy's Forest, detail

I did a year long project in the Bahamas making art and learning about their incredible history of Africans emancipated from Slave ships directly to Grand Bahama Island.  The palette there is clear blue skies and water, grey/white sand and deep jewel tone plants and animals.

 Journey to Water Cay, 2009

My China Palette seems to use red and brown with the face changing to reflect the people I see.

Ancient Gaze, 2009

 Ancient Gaze, detail
  Ancient Gaze, detail

 Ancient Gaze, detail

 She carries her own heart, 2009

 She carries her own heart, detail

 She carries her own heart, detail

 She carries her own heart, detail

Next time I will think about how travelling between places is also changing my work.
What do you think? Artists like to know - and I especially want to know which piece above do you like the best?

1 comment:

  1. Journey to Water Cay has my colors in it. BUT, I still think my favorite piece is the storm you sold!

    I believe that your work would change even without the environmental changes BECAUSE you grow and change everyday no matter where you are and your work would reflect your awakenings, enlightenment. You are not a stagnant person and therefore your art couldn't possibly be staid and unchanging.

    I also love the casual way in which your art shows your life journey through the various iterations of "gainful" employment, myriad sources of love and joy as well as the tears and pain.

    It is thought-provoking for me to view art through your words. I can only hope that we will be able to see more of WeiWei's work. I can only guess what or where his inspiration will show in your work. It is truly wonderful for me to see your work and understand the depths of life involved in its creation. It also strikes me that he felt you in that his work has the three dimensional qualities that you breathed into life no so very long ago with you words. It sorta reminds me of the way Amnesty International stole your barbed wire concept a while back!

    Love ya